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effects_of_family_structure_on_poverty [2016/11/03 13:44]
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effects_of_family_structure_on_poverty [2016/11/03 13:46]
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 More than 15.8 million American children live below the official poverty line.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.\\ The U.S. Census Bureau creates a set of poverty thresholds annually based on family composition and size, which must be worked with, despite its severe and justified critics. If a family’s pre-tax income (without capital gains or welfare benefits) falls below this threshold, then the family is in poverty.)) Poverty is principally a problem of non-intact families. In 2015, five times as many single, female-headed families were in poverty compared to married-couple families.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 and 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplements,​ “Table 4: Families in Poverty by Type of Family: ​ 2014 and 2015”.)) Marriage is the most effective safeguard against child poverty.  ​ More than 15.8 million American children live below the official poverty line.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.\\ The U.S. Census Bureau creates a set of poverty thresholds annually based on family composition and size, which must be worked with, despite its severe and justified critics. If a family’s pre-tax income (without capital gains or welfare benefits) falls below this threshold, then the family is in poverty.)) Poverty is principally a problem of non-intact families. In 2015, five times as many single, female-headed families were in poverty compared to married-couple families.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 and 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplements,​ “Table 4: Families in Poverty by Type of Family: ​ 2014 and 2015”.)) Marriage is the most effective safeguard against child poverty.  ​
  
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 {{ :​families_in_povert_2015.png?​direct&​500 |Families in Poverty}} {{ :​families_in_povert_2015.png?​direct&​500 |Families in Poverty}}
  
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 Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.((Teresa A. Mauldin and Yoko Mimura, “Marrying,​ Unmarrying, and Poverty Dynamics among Mothers with Children Living at Home,” //Journal of Family and Economic Issues// 28, no. 4 (December 2007): 576.)) Roughly 28 percent of mothers with children experience poverty within a year after their divorce.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]].)) Women whose family income was below the national median and mothers who were not in the workforce before the divorce are very likely to experience poverty following their divorce.((House Committee on Ways and Means, //Green Book: Background Material and Data on Programs Within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means//, Bill Archer. (105th Cong., 2d sess., 1998, Committee Print 105, 7).)) Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.((Teresa A. Mauldin and Yoko Mimura, “Marrying,​ Unmarrying, and Poverty Dynamics among Mothers with Children Living at Home,” //Journal of Family and Economic Issues// 28, no. 4 (December 2007): 576.)) Roughly 28 percent of mothers with children experience poverty within a year after their divorce.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]].)) Women whose family income was below the national median and mothers who were not in the workforce before the divorce are very likely to experience poverty following their divorce.((House Committee on Ways and Means, //Green Book: Background Material and Data on Programs Within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means//, Bill Archer. (105th Cong., 2d sess., 1998, Committee Print 105, 7).))
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 Economically,​ women suffer more from divorce than men.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]]. )) Though child support helps a woman avoid poverty after divorce, it does not help as much as most think. Over 35 percent of custodial mothers receiving child support were impoverished 16-18 months following the divorce while only 10.5 percent of all non-custodial fathers (those paying child support and those not) were impoverished.((Judi Bartfeld, “Child Support and Postdivorce Economic Well-Being of Mothers, Fathers, and Children,​” //​Demography//​ 37, no. 2 (2000): 209.)) Economically,​ women suffer more from divorce than men.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]]. )) Though child support helps a woman avoid poverty after divorce, it does not help as much as most think. Over 35 percent of custodial mothers receiving child support were impoverished 16-18 months following the divorce while only 10.5 percent of all non-custodial fathers (those paying child support and those not) were impoverished.((Judi Bartfeld, “Child Support and Postdivorce Economic Well-Being of Mothers, Fathers, and Children,​” //​Demography//​ 37, no. 2 (2000): 209.))
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 Divorce can also increase a household’s dependence on government benefits. Within 12 months of divorce, almost 30 percent of mothers with minor children receive public assistance in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash public assistance income, or Food Stamp benefits.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]].)) Divorced mothers who receive welfare do so for three to four years, on average, during which time they begin to work their way out of poverty.((Julia Heath, “Determinants of Spells of Poverty Following Divorce,” //Review of Social Economy// 49, (1992): 305-315.)) However, it seems that welfare benefits may decrease the incentives for remarriage,​((C. Dewilde and W. Uunk, “Remarriage as a Way to Overcome the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” //European Sociological Review// 24, no. 3 (2008): 400.)) a path out of poverty for men and women alike.((Caroline Dewilde and Wilfred Uunk, “Remarriage as a Way to Overcome the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” //European Sociological Review// 24, no. 3 (2008): 403.  Divorce can also increase a household’s dependence on government benefits. Within 12 months of divorce, almost 30 percent of mothers with minor children receive public assistance in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash public assistance income, or Food Stamp benefits.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]].)) Divorced mothers who receive welfare do so for three to four years, on average, during which time they begin to work their way out of poverty.((Julia Heath, “Determinants of Spells of Poverty Following Divorce,” //Review of Social Economy// 49, (1992): 305-315.)) However, it seems that welfare benefits may decrease the incentives for remarriage,​((C. Dewilde and W. Uunk, “Remarriage as a Way to Overcome the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” //European Sociological Review// 24, no. 3 (2008): 400.)) a path out of poverty for men and women alike.((Caroline Dewilde and Wilfred Uunk, “Remarriage as a Way to Overcome the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” //European Sociological Review// 24, no. 3 (2008): 403. 
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 In 2015, over 17 million children were raised in mother-only families, 43 percent of whom lived below the poverty line.((U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.)) About 30 percent of women whose first child was born out of wedlock are poor, compared to 8 percent of women whose first child was born inside wedlock.((Daniel T. Lichter, Deborah R. Graefe, and J.B. Brown, “Is Marriage A Panacea? Union Formation Among Economically Disadvantaged Unwed Mothers,” //Social Problems// 50, (2003): 60-86.)) According to a simulation study, if single mothers were to marry their child’s father, only 17 percent would be impoverished. One hundred percent of unemployed single mothers who do not marry the fathers of their children live in poverty; according to the same simulation, should these mothers marry their child’s father, only 35 percent would be impoverished.((Robert Rector, Kirk Johnson, Patrick Fagan, and Lauren Noyes, “Increasing Marriage Will Dramatically Reduce Child Poverty,” The Heritage Foundation, CDA03-06, (2003). Available from [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2003/​05/​increasing-marriage-would-dramatically-reduce-child-poverty]]. Accessed 29 April 2011.)) In 2015, over 17 million children were raised in mother-only families, 43 percent of whom lived below the poverty line.((U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.)) About 30 percent of women whose first child was born out of wedlock are poor, compared to 8 percent of women whose first child was born inside wedlock.((Daniel T. Lichter, Deborah R. Graefe, and J.B. Brown, “Is Marriage A Panacea? Union Formation Among Economically Disadvantaged Unwed Mothers,” //Social Problems// 50, (2003): 60-86.)) According to a simulation study, if single mothers were to marry their child’s father, only 17 percent would be impoverished. One hundred percent of unemployed single mothers who do not marry the fathers of their children live in poverty; according to the same simulation, should these mothers marry their child’s father, only 35 percent would be impoverished.((Robert Rector, Kirk Johnson, Patrick Fagan, and Lauren Noyes, “Increasing Marriage Will Dramatically Reduce Child Poverty,” The Heritage Foundation, CDA03-06, (2003). Available from [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2003/​05/​increasing-marriage-would-dramatically-reduce-child-poverty]]. Accessed 29 April 2011.))
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 Single-parent families are vulnerable in a number of ways. In 2014 over three quarters of homeless families nationwide were headed by single mothers with children.((Ellen L. Bassuk, Carmela J. DeCandia, Corey Anne Beach, and Fred Berman, "​America'​s Youngest Outcasts: A Report Card on Child Homelessness,"​ American Institute for Research (2014). Available at [[http://​www.air.org/​resource/​americas-youngest-outcasts-report-card-child-homelessness]].)) Many single mothers receive government aid in the form of welfare. Fifty percent of female-headed families received major means-tested welfare in 2012.((Shelley K. Irving and Tracy A. Loveless, "​Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs, 2009-2012: Who Gets Assistance?"​ //Household Economic Studies// (2015): 9-10. Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​content/​dam/​Census/​library/​publications/​2015/​demo/​p70-141.pdf]].)) ​ Single-parent families are vulnerable in a number of ways. In 2014 over three quarters of homeless families nationwide were headed by single mothers with children.((Ellen L. Bassuk, Carmela J. DeCandia, Corey Anne Beach, and Fred Berman, "​America'​s Youngest Outcasts: A Report Card on Child Homelessness,"​ American Institute for Research (2014). Available at [[http://​www.air.org/​resource/​americas-youngest-outcasts-report-card-child-homelessness]].)) Many single mothers receive government aid in the form of welfare. Fifty percent of female-headed families received major means-tested welfare in 2012.((Shelley K. Irving and Tracy A. Loveless, "​Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs, 2009-2012: Who Gets Assistance?"​ //Household Economic Studies// (2015): 9-10. Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​content/​dam/​Census/​library/​publications/​2015/​demo/​p70-141.pdf]].)) ​
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 Welfare benefits also correlate with a decrease in the marriage rate, thus narrowing another path out of poverty. A $100 increase in monthly welfare benefits for single mothers decreases a woman’s likelihood of marrying by 2.5- 5 percentage points.((Robert Moffitt and Anne Winkler, “Beyond Single Mothers: Cohabitation and Marriage in the AFDC Program,” //​Demography//​ 35, no. 3 (1998): 267.)) According to one study, 80 percent of single parents who entered into select welfare programs remained single two to four years after first receiving payments.((Lisa A. Gennetian and Virginia Knox, “Staying Single: The Effects of Welfare Reform Policies on Marriage and Cohabitation,​” //The Next Generation//,​ Working Paper no. 13 (2003): 20.)) In particular, receiving benefits from the AFDC welfare program corresponds with a 5 percent reduction in the marriage rate.((M.P. Bitler, J.B. Gelbach, H.W. Hoynes, and M. Zavodny, “The Impact of Welfare Reform on Marriage and Divorce,” //​Demography//​ 41, no. 2 (2004): 222.)) Welfare benefits also correlate with a decrease in the marriage rate, thus narrowing another path out of poverty. A $100 increase in monthly welfare benefits for single mothers decreases a woman’s likelihood of marrying by 2.5- 5 percentage points.((Robert Moffitt and Anne Winkler, “Beyond Single Mothers: Cohabitation and Marriage in the AFDC Program,” //​Demography//​ 35, no. 3 (1998): 267.)) According to one study, 80 percent of single parents who entered into select welfare programs remained single two to four years after first receiving payments.((Lisa A. Gennetian and Virginia Knox, “Staying Single: The Effects of Welfare Reform Policies on Marriage and Cohabitation,​” //The Next Generation//,​ Working Paper no. 13 (2003): 20.)) In particular, receiving benefits from the AFDC welfare program corresponds with a 5 percent reduction in the marriage rate.((M.P. Bitler, J.B. Gelbach, H.W. Hoynes, and M. Zavodny, “The Impact of Welfare Reform on Marriage and Divorce,” //​Demography//​ 41, no. 2 (2004): 222.))